At Melbourne Family Lawyers, we steadfastly commit to the best interests of the child.
The core of these emotionally charged disputes often involves complex issues like child protection, child support, and parenting disputes.
That’s where our team of dedicated legal experts comes in.
Our Extensive Experience in Children’s MattersParenting
- Resolution of disputes regarding parenting and time spent with either parent (contact, access or visitation)
- Contested Court Hearings
- Child Abduction
- Child Relocation
- Paternity Disputes
- Advice on Child Support issues
- Child Support Agreements
- Child Support Applications
- Child Support Trusts
- Legal advice on child protection laws
- Representation in family violence cases
Melbourne Family Lawyers Elevating the Best Interests of the Child
At Melbourne Family Lawyers, we don’t just offer legal expertise; we provide a sanctuary for support and guidance tailored to the unique needs of each family.
Our multidisciplinary approach integrates legal acumen with emotional intelligence, ensuring that every strategy we deploy—child protection, child support, or parenting disputes—is meticulously crafted to prioritise your child’s emotional and physical well-being.
It’s not just about winning cases; it’s about winning peace of mind for your family.
When you choose us, you’re choosing a partner who understands that the ultimate measure of success is the happiness and stability of your child.
Our Family Lawyers
Our lawyers have vast experience in Family Law. Whether your case involves a 50 million dollar business or a suburban house, a relocation with children to Preston or Paris, or a Divorce Application in Melbourne or Mumbai, rest assured that we know how to deal with it in the best possible way and obtain the best possible result for you.
What is Best Interests of the Child
The term “Best Interests of the Child” is a guiding principle in family law that prioritises a child’s well-being, safety, and overall happiness when making legal decisions that affect them.
This encompasses a range of factors, including but not limited to the child’s emotional, physical, and educational needs, the ability of each parent to meet these needs, and the child’s wishes, especially if they are old enough to express them.
The concept aims to ensure that children grow up in an environment where their social, emotional, and educational growth is nurtured.
Get a free personalised welcome pack in minutes
Save under exceptional circumstances, the Family Law Act requires you to make an attempt to resolve disputes about parenting matters using Family Dispute Resolution Services before applying to a court for a Parenting Order.
We are able to assist you in taking this step.
If you fail to reach parenting agreement about either the future parenting arrangements for your children, then you will need a lawyer to prepare a Court Application on your behalf.
The Court Process will still enable you to resolve your dispute using court assisted mediation and further negotiations, but if this fails a Judge will ultimately decide what is best for your children after considering all of the evidence at a Final Hearing.
Considerations During the Process of a Parenting Order
Often when parents separate, the most difficult problem to resolve is determining how much time a child should spend with each parent.
The court assesses whether it is practical and in the best interests of the children for them to spend equal time or ‘substantial and significant time’ with each parent.
It is usually seen as beneficial for both parents to have a meaningful involvement in the different aspects of their children’s lives including during the week, on weekends, on holidays and on special occasions.
There is no defined age when the law allows children to decide which parent they would like to live with or spend time with.
A Court will take into account a child’s wishes but there is no obligation on a Court to follow those wishes in reaching a decision concerning that child.
When making parenting orders, the Court does not usually hear directly from children.
However, a child’s views can be brought to the attention of a Court through an Independent Children’s Lawyer or through a Family Report prepared by a Family Consultant such as a Psychologist.
- Family Report’s role: Family Report may be ordered by the Court to assist the Judge better understand the issues in dispute, and the family relationships generally, with the assistance of a child-focussed professional.
- Independent Children’s Lawyer role: The Independent Children’s Lawyer represent the child’s interests in a case and to assist the Judge in deciding what arrangements are in the child’s best interests. The Independent Children’s Lawyer does not “take instructions” from the child but is bound to ensure that the child’s views are put before the Court.
The Australian Child Support Scheme is designed to ensure that both parents contribute towards the costs of raising a child.
If you are the parent of a child, you have the legal obligation to financially support that child even if you and the child’s other parent were not married or living together.
The Child Support Scheme is administered by the Australian Government through the Child Support Agency.
Child Support is calculated using a complex formula. When assessing Child Support in accordance with this formula, the Child Support Agency considers:
- Both parents’ income;
- If any other children are being supported;
- The ages and costs of raising children (based on the combined income of the parents); and
- The amount of time each parent cares for the children (‘care levels’).
Sometimes, as an alternative to the child support formula assessment some parents wish to reach their own private arrangement that contains the amount of child support to be paid, in what form, and how it should be paid.
When we advise you on your case, we are usually able to provide you with an estimate of Child Support payable in your particular circumstances.
Child Protection Family Violence Intervention Order
Child victims of domestic or family violence may be subject to an IVO.
Those who Family Violence Intervention Orders cover may include those living on the same property as the person named in the order.
Children living with protected parents are included in this category.
If a former spouse or partner applies for a Family Violence Intervention Order, your access to your children may be affected.
Applications for family violence orders meant to protect a parent often mention children as protected persons.
You can also seek protective orders from The FCFCOA (Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia).
A parenting agreement is a voluntary, informal arrangement between parents about childcare responsibilities but isn’t legally enforceable.
A parenting order is a legally binding court document that outlines the roles and responsibilities of each parent.
The main difference lies in legal enforceability: agreements are informal, while orders are legally binding and enforceable by law.
Equal shared parental responsibility is different to equal parenting time, which refers to the time which children spend with each parent.
Equal shared parenting means both parents have a say in making major long-term decisions about the children.
Such major long term decisions would usually include medical issues, the type of education a child is to receive, and religious and cultural matters.
Day-to-day decisions, such as what clothes the children wear or what they have for breakfast, are not categorised as major long-term decisions.
The amount of child support varies based on factors like income, the number of children, and their needs.
It’s calculated using a specific formula set by the Child Support Agency in Australia.
Child support typically covers basic living expenses such as food, clothing, and shelter.
It may also include educational costs, healthcare, and other specific needs of the child.
In Australia, a father cannot unilaterally take a child away from the mother without legal permission or a court order. Doing so could result in legal consequences.
There’s no specific time frame, but long-term absence and lack of involvement could influence a court’s decision on parental rights and responsibilities.
There’s no set age, but courts will consider a child’s opinion more seriously as they get older, usually around the age of 14 or older.
Child protection refers to the legal and social services designed to safeguard children from harm, abuse, or neglect.